Retiring headteacher says his decision prompted consultation on closure of Dunswell Primary School
THE retiring head of a closure- threatened primary school says headteachers wanting to step down effectively have "a gun to their head".
Paul Johnston believes East Riding Council's decision to consult on the closure of Dunswell Primary School was prompted by his decision in November to give the authority notice he intended to retire.
Mr Johnston said: "There's a gun to the head of every head in the East Riding.
"If they decide they want to retire, it means the authority can close a school without paying redundancy to the head."
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Last week, under-fire council officials defended moves to close Dunswell Primary School.
They said Mr Johnston handed in his notice weeks after Ofsted ruled the primary must improve.
The retiring head actually left for personal family reasons.
Approached for his views by the Mail, Mr Johnson yesterday confirmed he had received a written apology from Alison Michalska, director of children, families and adult services at the council.
But the headteacher is keen not to embarrass the authority over the matter, saying simply: "I'd like to let it go now and concentrate on the school."
Mr Johnston believes Dunswell Primary is a poor candidate for closure.
The relatively poor Ofsted report can, he believes, be put down to the school having a comparatively small number of children so that one or two children with varying abilities can skew the results.
Mr Johnston said: "The Ofsted report was less than positive but it's not a reflection on the school.
"The school's teaching has been consistently graded as good or outstanding.
"It's true that the results for that cohort weren't as good but it was because we took in some children from other areas."
The headteacher originally intended to leave this August and need only have given notice of his intention at Easter.
He told the council early so it had more time to find a replacement headteacher.
He said: "It's been made to sound like I resigned because of the Ofsted report but that's simply not true. I'm retiring with my head held high."
Parent Julie Reed accused the council of making excuses to close Dunswell Primary School.
She said: "We don't want to comment on the head's situation.
"We support him and respect him in everything he has done for us."